staff columnist

The ultimate goal for many generations has been a college education for every child. With hard work, a scholarship here and a grant there, college was in reach for almost anyone willing to put in the hours. Student loan debt was an issue for some, but loans were small and easily paid back once the [...]

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  Pounding basketballs and children sitting on sofas come to mind as I think about the $40 million that Minnesota has just made available to families for early childhood program scholarships. While the money may be used well, I think it’s too early to describe this as a “major step forward,” as one advocate asserts. [...]

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Some parents wish their children could attend a year-round school because they think three months of summer vacation is too long. Most Minnesotans believe school shouldn’t start until after the last day of the Minnesota State Fair. Several schools in the Twin Cities area have year-round schedules, with students generally studying 45 days with 15-day [...]

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What does it take to help students from low-income families succeed? One hundred thirty-one Minnesota district and charter public schools have just earned an important state award because they have answers. They have earned the Minnesota Department of Education designation of “reward schools.” Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota commissioner of education, released information this week showing that [...]

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National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel’s recent visit to Bloomington highlighted the potential of more funding for early childhood education. Perhaps unexpectedly, the visit also highlighted possible problems. Led by Hillcrest Community School fifth-graders Sara Grosser and Gregory Pedenko, Van Roekel, Education Minnesota president Denise Specht and Bloomington Federation of Teachers President Wendy Marczak [...]

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As we start a new school year, I recall that there may be few people more miserable than a seventh grade boy, whose voice is changing, in a choral music class – the kind of class where youngsters are expected to sing every day. That’s the situation I found myself in many years ago at [...]

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See Jeff Hage’s photos from Diana Nyad’s 2012 attempt to swim from Cuba to Key West. It’s not every day you get to greet one of the world’s greatest athletes. But that was the case for me just over a year ago while I stood on Smathers Beach in Key West, Fla. It was the [...]

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